CVTC Employee Emergency Alerting and Response Technology FAQ
After nearly two decades of Informcast alerting why publish an FAQ now? Microsoft Teams calling offered opportunities to expand our emergency alerting capabilities with an upgrade to Informacast called Fusion. That change provoked a resurgence of interest in Public Safety and emergency alerting that needed to be addressed.
What is CVTC alert?
CVTC alert is a combination of two notification systems. RAVE, which sends alerts to the phone number associated with your employee profile and Informacast Fusion that sends audible and visual alerts to managed CVTC endpoints.
What is the role of the alerts?
Alerts are designed to create awareness around an event in progress.
What types of alerts can I expect?
Weather, active threat, delayed opening, early closing, general evacuation and all clear alerts are currently the scenarios programmed into Informacast Fusion. Fire alarm triggered events are being investigated as well.
What exactly is “Singlewire Informacast Fusion”?
Singlewire is a company specializing in emergency alerting. Their flagship product is called “Informacast”. Fusion is the most advanced and feature rich version they sell.
Why upgrade to Fusion now?
It was always on the roadmap to move Informacast into the cloud where the control plane can survive a disaster. The Microsoft Teams calling, and Carousel digital signage projects put the cost to value in a place where the additional investment was justifiable.
How does Informacast Fusion send alerts?
CVTC desk phones, computers and digital signage all can send a combination of audio and/or visual alerts. A mobile application, IP speakers, fire system speakers and Microsoft Teams channels are also options available but still in development at CVTC.
What types of alert sources are available in a classroom?
Every standard classroom has a phone and a computer. The phone will broadcast audio alerts and if the computer has been logged into it will receive both audible and visual alerts. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to log onto the instructor workstation even if you do not plan on using it to present to add extra layers.
I heard the Microsoft phone system cannot send alerts, is that true?
That was true at one point. However, after employees raised concerns Network Operations staff were able to re-examine the system's capabilities and all phones now send audible alerts.
Will I get Informacast Fusion alerts if there is a power outage?
CVTC’s Network Infrastructure is not on any sort of backup power at any campus, apart from the Data Center. All phones, displays, IP speakers and CVTC issued computers will no longer function as an emergency alerting system during a critical network outage, including loss of power. It’s important to note that fire alarms and suppression systems are not impacted by a network outage.
Should I be worried if the emergency alerting systems are down?
The emergency alerting systems are an important but somewhat small part of a comprehensive Public Safety response plan. For the most accurate information on that plan, and why without emergency alerts you should still feel safe, please contact the Public Safety department directly.
What is this IP speaker business all about?
The Cisco phone based Informacast system has always had gaps in coverage. IP speakers are commercial grade audio equipment compatible with Informacast Fusion to help fill those gaps.
What is the plan for deploying IP speakers?
First and foremost, to provide coverage in gap areas. Then circle back and examine where existing coverage can be enhanced.
If I choose to not have a desk phone provisioned for me, how will I get alerts?
You will still receive alerts via CVTC email, the notification agent on a CVTC computer, nearby digital signage and if you choose your mobile phone. You can always request to have a desk phone provisioned for you if that is an area of concern.
Can desk phones provide visual alerts?
The Cisco phones currently do show some basic text. For the phones connected to the Microsoft solution, that is a future enhancement Microsoft and Singlewire are working on together.
Do you integrate with my personal or CVTC issued mobile phone?
Yes, we do! Leveraging the RAVE messaging technology, the number associated with your identity in SIS will receive calls and text messages in the event of an emergency and Informacast can send emails to your CVTC account.
Why don’t we just use RAVE to call our CVTC phones and MS Teams clients to alert us?
First employees would still need to answer the call. Second, we have more phones, computers and people than incoming calling capacity.
I don’t have a cell phone signal in my location, can I still receive alerts?
Indoor areas at CVTC should have complete Wi-Fi coverage. When connected to one of CVTC’s wireless networks you can still receive email, text messages and on some devices, leverage wi-fi calling. If you find an area that does not provide CVTC Wi-Fi, please contact the service desk.
Am I required to bring my personal mobile device to work as part of CVTC alert?
No, CVTC does not require employees to own and use personal mobile devices. However, a smart phone does provide certain advantages in emergency situations, and it is not discouraged in any way when used explicitly for receiving notifications.
Is there a way to use my personal cell phone and avoid additional data charges?
Yes. Every CVTC employee has access to the “cvtc-wifi" network. You can still access notification channels without having to worry about connecting to your provider's LTE network and incur data overages. If you are unsure how to configure your mobile device to only use CVTC’s Wi-Fi, please contact the service desk.
Alerts sound great but is there anything I can do to be better prepared?
Yes, it is strongly recommended that employees regularly visit the Public Safety Commons site for information and training opportunities that complement emergency alerting. Enhancing your situational awareness and understanding the procedures that may follow an emergency alert help keep you, your co-workers and our students safer.
Who is responsible for creating and sending Emergency Alerts at CVTC?
CVTC’s Public Safety department maintains all aspects of the emergency alerting strategy and tactics.
I have a specific request or question not covered in this FAQ that involves emergency alerting. Who can I contact about that?
Please contact Public Safety via email at PublicSafety@cvtc.edu or call 715-833-6202.
Can I call 911 using Microsoft Teams?
Yes. Regardless of how you choose to interact with Microsoft Teams calling it is fundamentally no different than any phone you have used to date.
How does Microsoft Teams know what my location is?
If you are on a CVTC campus the fixed network infrastructure is associated with location data. If you are home or using a cellular network, then Microsoft Client will provide the option to enter emergency location information.
Can I use my Microsoft Teams client to dial 911 when working from home?
Yes, you can, although your personal cell or land line telephone are recommended for personal 911 calls when working from home.
What location information is being sent?
Today the street address for the building you are in is being sent. By the time the Microsoft conversion is 100% complete building, floor and office number will be included as well.
What are the legal requirements for E911 calling?
The Ray Baums Act and Kari’s Law are what impacts CVTC the most. The Microsoft Teams calling system has the necessary features for it to be compliant.